Scéal na Beatha, Wednesday 17 April at 9.30pm on TG4
Date Posted: April 16, 2019
Scéal na Beatha, a documentary produced by Below The Radar with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund will be broadcast on TG4 on the 17th of April at 9.30pm.
With rare and unique access, this surprisingly uplifting documentary looks at how we deal with death and the rituals that follow through the life of Seosamh Ó Conchúir, former manager of Club Chonradh na Gaeilge, and though his families’ journey.
Director, Mairéad Ní Thréinir, films with Seosamh in Our Lady’s hospice where he is to spend his final days. With a glint in his eye, he reflects on his life and enjoys listening to his favourite pieces of music and spending time with close friends and family.
This is a documentary that everyone will identify with on some level. It is about more than death and rituals. It is about a man who lived a full life but only came to realise how important he was to others when faced with his own mortality, which is often the case. This film is now part of Seosamh’s legacy.
Seosamh was diagnosed with Cancer in June 2018. The cancer was at a late stage and he had surgery and started chemo straight away. From then on he spent most of his days in hospital. In September, Seosamh made the tough decision, with the advice of his oncologist and the support of his family, not to continue with chemo and he moved to Our ladies Hospice in Harold’s Cross. This is when he decided to begin filming for the documentary. In typical fashion, his only question was: “why would anyone want to make a film about me?” A question that now makes Mairéad laugh as the love and admiration that surrounded him quickly became apparent in the days that followed.
After just two days filming with him, Mairéad got an unexpected call from Seosamh’s brother Philip to say that he had stopped talking and was in “the final stages”. He invited her back to the hospice to film with the family. Sadly, Seosamh passed away that evening. Amazingly, he held on until every one of his seven siblings was in the room with him, some of them having flown in from different countries.
The film follows Seosamh to his final resting place, reflecting with his family and friends through the wake, funeral and burial, all of which are touching and traditionally Irish. His family and friends talk honestly and openly about his death and how all of the rituals that come after helped them to get through each day.
Seosamh’s brother Philip said: ‘The filming was a great highlight for Joe in the final week of his life, an important event for him. He didn’t say this, but his quiet pride and joy was obvious. Mairéad’s filming followed us through those last days, and through the weeks of ritual and mourning that followed, always unobtrusively but always there, in a strangely very comforting kind of way. It just felt right. This was probably because for us it was like a much deserved
tribute to our brother, of a type that could not be bettered, and of which he himself could imagine nothing better – as Gaeilge, with TG4. Sure what on earth could beat that!’
Director Mairéad Ní Thréinir said: ‘My main aim when making this film was to treat Seosamh and his family with sensitivity and respect. I was bowled over by how open and honest Seosamh and his family were throughout the filming. Personally, it was a hard documentary to make on many levels, it was easy to get swept away by emotion, but it never felt like I was intruding or unwelcome; another testament to the family. This is Seosamh’s story, but it is also a story about death and how we deal with it and about Irish traditions.’
The film was produced by Máire Bhreathnach and Mairéad Ní Thréinir and Executive Produced by Michael Fanning. The film was edited by Declan McGrath.
Craolfar an clár faisnéise Scéal na Beatha ar TG4 ar 17 Aibreán ag 9.30i.n. Léirigh Below The Radar an scannán le tacaíocht ón Chiste Craoltóireachta Gaeilge de chuid Scailéain Thuaisceart Éireann.
Seo scéal a phléann le deasghnátha an bháis ach in aineoinn an bhróin thabharfadh an clár faisnéise seo ardú meanma don lucht féachana. Fuarthas an rochtain ar leith le bheith i gcuideachta Sheosaimh Uí Conchúir, iarbhainisteoir Chonradh na Gaeilge, ar a laethanta deireanacha sa saol seo agus le turas a theaghlaigh a leanúint.
Déanann Stiúrthóir an chláir, Mairéad Ní Thréinir, scannánú le Seosamh in Ospís Naomh Muire áit ar chaith sé na laethanta deireanacha dá shaol. Meabhraíonn Seosamh siar ar a shaol le gliondar ina shúile, ag éisteacht le cuid den cheol a b’ansa leis i gcuideachta a chairde is a ghaolta.
Beidh chuile dhuine in ann ionannú leis na téamaí sa chlár faisnéise seo ar leibhéal inteacht. Baineann sé le níos mó ná bás agus deasghnátha an bháis. Is faoi fhear a chaith saol iomlán comhlíonta lán é, nár thuig a luach go dtí go raibh teagmháil chrua aige lena bhásmhaireacht féin, rud a mbíonn coitianta go leor. Is faoi oidhreacht Sheosaimh atá an scannán seo.
Tugadh diagnóisiú ailse ar Sheosamh i Meitheamh 2018. Bhí sé ar an dé deiridh nuair a bhfuarthas amach ach chuaigh sé faoi sciain agus thosaigh sé ar cóir leighis Chemo díreach ina dhiaidh. Ó shin i leith chaith sé bunús a laethanta san otharlann. I Meán Fómhair, thóg Seosamh cinneadh an-chrua le comhairle a dhoctúra agus tacaíocht a theaghlaigh gan leanúint leis an chemo. Bhog sé go hOspís Naomh Muire i gCrois Araild agus is anseo a chinn sé bheith rannpháirteach sa chlár faisnéise. Ina ghnáthbhealach féin, an t-aon cheist a bhí aige ná: “Cén fáth ar mhaith le duine scannán a dhéanamh fúmsa?”. Cuireann an cheist seo Mairéad ag gáirí de thairbhe gur léir an grá agus meas a bhí daoine fána choinne sna laethanta a tháinig ina dhiaidh sin.
Fuair Mairéad glaoch ghutháin dhá lá ina dhiaidh di tosnú ag scannánú le Seosamh óna dheartháir Philip le rá gur stop a chuid cainte agus go raibh an deireadh gar dó. Thug sé cuireadh di dul ar ais le scannánú leis an teaghlach. Faraor gear, d’imigh Seosamh ar shlí na firinne an oíche sin. Iontach go leor, d’fhan sé go dtí go raibh a chuid deartháireacha agus deirfiúracha ar ais ina chuideachta, cuid acu a thaisteal ó thíortha i gcéin.
Leanann an scannán seo Seosamh go dtí go gcuirtear i gcré na cille é, ag meabhrú lena theaghlach agus lena chairde ag am an fhaire agus am na sochráide a bhí mothúlach agus traidisiúnta. Labhrann a theaghlach is a chairde go macánta agus go hoscailte faoina bhás agus faoina bealaí gur chuidigh na deasghnátha leo fáil trí gach lá.
Dúirt deartháir Sheosaimh Philip: ‘The filming was a great highlight for Joe in the final week of his life, an important event for him. He didn’t say this, but his quiet pride and joy was obvious. Mairéad’s filming followed us through those last days, and through the weeks of ritual and mourning that followed, always unobtrusively but always there, in a strangely very comforting kind of way. It just felt right. This was probably because for us it was like a much deserved tribute to our brother, of a type that could not be bettered, and of which he himself could imagine nothing better – as Gaeilge, with TG4. Sure what on earth could beat that!’
Dúirt an stiúrthóir Mairéad Ní Thréinir: “An príomhaidhm a bhí agamsa ó thús na scannáníochta le Seosamh agus lena theaghlach ná a bheith mothálach agus measúil faoina mothúcháin. Baineadh stangadh asam ar chomh hoscailte agus macánta is a bhí Seosamh agus a theaghlach le linn na scannáníochta. Bhí sé iontach deacair an clár faisnéise seo a dhéanamh ar go leor leibheálacha, bheadh sé eascaí a bheith goillte, ach níor mhothaigh sé go raibh mé ag cur isteach orthu nó nach raibh fáilte romham ariamh; rud a thugann teastas ar thréithe na ndaoine seo. Seo é scéal Sheosaimh, agus is scéal é faoin bhás agus faoina deasghnátha a bhaineann le bás agus na traidisiúin in Éirinn.”
Bhí an scannán seo léirithe ag Máire Bhreathnach agus Mairéad Ní Thréinir agus is é Michael Fanning an léiritheoir feidhmiúcháin. Rinne Declan McGrath eagarthóireacht air.